The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 22-28/12/01 (1) Quote of the week (from Next terrorism war target likely Yemen or in Africa¹ in the New World Order¹ section): "My feeling is that what's likely to happen after Afghanistan is that we'll tackle Yemen, Sudan and Somalia, and then Lebanon and Syria, and then we'll go after Iraq with an ultimatum.", Rep Tom Lantos, Democrat. Reassuring, eh? INCITEMENT TO HATRED * Attack Iraq, Butler urges [After this, and others like it, can anyone believe that R.Butler was a suitable man to lead the United Nations¹ weapons inspection team? Can anyone doubt that the sole purpose of this team had become to devise pretexts for prolonging the sanctions regime? Can anyone doubt that the individual most directly, personally responsible for the fact that there is now no surveillance of Iraq¹s military capacity, is Richard Butler?] * Saddam's henchmen 'ordered crowds to greet MP in Iraq' [by David Rose in The Observer. This is nasty piece of work aimed to blacken one of the very few British MPs worthy of respect, George Galloway.] * Not a 'single tear' for Iraqi leader [Alexander Rose in the Toronto National Post has only just discovered S.Hussein¹s first book, never mind his second. He says its dreadful¹, so we assume it must have been translated into English (surely he wouldn¹t say such a thing without having read it). He¹s also just discovered the existence of the Koran written in Saddam¹s blood but saves himself in the nick of time from declaring that to be dreadful¹ too. And he¹s found a Saudi journalist who says Saddam should be overthrown. So there¹s no problem about Arab opinion.] * US plans Iraq war¹ [This article has Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia all declaring their preparedness to cooperate in a war against Iraq] * Old plan for Iraq is topical again [Extract. Account of plan devised by Gen Wayne Downing (ret) for backing INC to overthrow Saddam. we learn that A 1995 Kurdish insurrection in the north, half-heartedly backed by the CIA and instigated by the Iraqi National Congress, was crushed by Saddam in 1996. He played one Kurdish faction off against another, executing more than 100 Chalabi supporters.¹ Which wasn¹t how I understood it at the time. It appeared as a confrontation between the PUK, backed by Iran, which was about to wipe out the KDP, which turned to Saddam for help ...] * The liberal case for attacking Iraq [This is a remarkable piece of what one is tempted to call chutzpah¹. Last week readers will recall a racist rant from Mr Lowry of the National Review¹ (End Iraq¹). This week he explains why a new Iraq massacre should be supported by left wing liberals (and Owlish college professors¹ - somehow he just can¹t keep his cloven hoof concealed). But we learn the oddest things, for example that April Glaspie warned S.Hussein NOT to invade Kuwait, when we had all thought she gave him the go-ahead (Saddam, the represser of women, must go¹); and that Saddam is the enemy of the Biological Weapons Convention (though he accepted it), not the US (which refused it). The US refused it, it seems, because Saddam accepted it. If many thousands of Iraqis wre blown to smithereens and Saddam with them then, Mr Lowry seems to be saying, the US would allow international inspectors to mull over the trade secrets of its pharmaceutical industry!] URL ONLY: http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,625183,00.html * Plan resurfaces to target Saddam by Julian Borger Guardian, 28th December Apart from the name General Wayne Downing¹, there really isn¹t anything new in this. But the name of the INC adviser is misspelt. It isn¹t Brooke¹ but Brooke¹, I regret to say. FINGER POINTING AWAY FROM IRAQ * U.S. Inquiry Tried, but Failed, to Link Iraq to Anthrax Attack * Doubts arise on Iraqi link to attacks [Extract which expresses fairly succinctly the present state of knowledge on the Prague connection. Which amounts to this: Atta was, or wasn¹t, seen with al-Ani in Prague in April 2001. But there is no record of him coming to Prague in April 2001] * Iraq fades as likely next target [Extract giving little quoted annual State Department assessment of Iraq¹s activities in the terrorist domain. Almost non existent, it concludes.] IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS * Russia to make efforts not to allow bombings of Iraq - speaker [The interest of this article does not lie in the opinions of the speaker of the Russian Duma but in the movements of the Qatari Emir sheikh Hamad bin Hhalifa Al Thani] * Daily cautions Saudi gov't of pro-Iraqi policy [Iran News, warning Saudis against friendship with the US and Britain (responsible for the Taliban debacle) and also against overtures they¹ve apparently been making towards Baghdad] * Progress in the Iraqi-Iranian talks [Although all this exchange of prisoners and of the dead seems incredibly slow and tedious, at least it is happening, unlike the similar negotiations with Kuwait. Perhaps because the US and Britain haven¹t insisted on inserting themselves into the process.] * Turkey Renews Mandate for North Iraq Patrols [This renewal is opposed by the Islamist opposition¹. You know, the one that was the democratically elected government until it was overthrown by a US backed military coup] * Iraq minister to visit Tehran next month * Iran and Iraq want big cuts in oil production AND, IN NEWS, 22-28/12/01 (2) * Iraq Reports a Hit on 'Enemy' Craft * Iraqi FM: Iran-Iraq relations have roots in history * Iraq hits out at Turkey over no-fly zone mandate [Some good advice to Turkey from Baghdad] * Iraqis cut ties with UAE * Abu al-Ragheb [Prime Minister of Jordan] to visit Iraq [The article seems to suggests that King Abdallah is willing to act as Bush¹s messenger boy to Iraq] * Amman endorses construction of Jordan-Iraq oil pipeline * Egyptian- Iraqi talks [on energy supply] * Egypt refuses American request to minimize trade relations with Iraq [Here¹s a little piece of good news I seem to have missed a couple of weeks ago] * Malka: Iraq to target Israel if US attacks * Turkey's Hand Forced if U.S. Hits Iraq [Broad summary of current Turkey/Iraq relations] IRAQI/INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS * Sanctions Thwart Iraqi Trade [Encouraging article from Uganda which tells us that: shrewd business people, who defy the UN sanctions, ply between Jordan and Iraq, doing brisk business. "Although Iraq is under UN-imposed sanctions, its industries are in full production. They produce textiles, footwear and have plenty of foodstuffs in markets."¹] IRAQI/UN RELATIONS * Iraq presents UN with oil-for-food programme INSIGNIFICANT NATIONS OF THE WORLD * Hain says Iraq action must be U.N.-backed * Kennedy warns against Iraq attack [Charles Kennedy sees La Vie en Rose] NEW WORLD ORDER * What really has been won in Afghanistan [rather interesting expression of contempt for the American way of making war: there will undoubtedly be more famous victories. Until, that is, Iraq is included. That is a nation with a government and an army, and it might well fight back. Can Dubya work up courage in a way his father could not to get Saddam? On the evidence, the answer would be no. Despite the drum-beating back home, America has fought a timid war in Afghanistan, mostly from about 6000m in the air.¹] * Next terrorism war target likely Yemen or in Africa [We learn something new every day. Some time ago we learnt that it was Al Qaida, not, as we had fondly imagined, General Aideed, who chased the Americans out of Somalia. Now we learn that when the US bombed Sudan in 1998, Al Qaida, not Sudan¹s leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, was the target.] * Precision bombing shows new kind of power URLs ONLY: http://www.theage.com.au/news/state/2001/12/23/FFXPI6Q9IVC.html * US needs to tread warily as it takes the war on terror into Middle East by Tony Parkinson The Age (Australia), 23rd December The title more or les says it all but its quite a good roundup of middle Eastern opinion. mentioned that the Palestinian spokesperson Dr Hanan Ashrawi has recently completed a short-term assignment aimed at producing a more cohesive public diplomacy for the 22 member-states of the Arab League¹ which could be interesting. http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1729262001 * NATO: Proof needed about Iraq by John Innes Scotsman, 27th December Good to know that we have that tough, independent minded Scotsman Lord Robertson at the NATO helm, keeping the Americans from doing anything rash. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la 000102346dec27.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Dcomment%2Dopinions * Keep the Nuclear Sword Sharp by John Foster Los Angeles Times, 27th December For all the uncertainties our world presents, this much is certain: The world will be a safer place with the continued existence of an ample U.S. nuclear arsenal.¹ [John Foster, chairman of the independent Panel to Assess the Reliability, Safety and Security of the U.S. Stockpile, is the former director of the Livermore Laboratory and the Defense Department's former director of defense research and engineering.] REMNANTS OF DECENCY * Americans donate blood for Iraqi children [Voices in the Wilderness] * Weapons of mass destruction¹ going nuclear in Iraq [Article largely about DU from Ramzi Kysia] REFUGEES * Unmasking puts Iraqi on guard [This is the case of the Iraqi unmasked¹ by the NZ Herald as Saddam¹s stepson. The indications are that, true or not, this has come as as much a surprise to him as to anyone else] * Iraqi Christians get caught up in security web of Miami INS GULF WAR SYNDROME * From cockpit to wheelchair [The article gives the astonishing firgure that of 690,000 troops sent to the War against Iraq, 200,000 have applied for disability compensation. It gives as likely cause of the problem the blowing up of Iraqi chemical weapons stores. It does not mention the possibility that Iraqi civilians living in the vicinity of these stores might also have been effected. Or what arrangements are being made to provide them with compensation. It gives this high casualty rate as an argument for not renewing the war against Iraq, thus strengthening the perception that under the conditions of the New World Order any country that wishes to preserve its independence has an interest in developing large stocks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.] INCITEMENT TO HATRED http://www.sundaytimes.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,3482227%255E1557 4,00.html * ATTACK IRAQ, BUTLER URGES Sunday Times (Australia), 22nd December FORMER UN weapons inspector Richard Butler has urged coalition forces to wage war on Iraq, saying it was clear terrorists were trained there. Mr Butler, an Australian, was thrown out of Iraq with his weapons inspection team in 1998 and fears Saddam Hussein has a stockpile of weapons. "You know there's a big debate in Washington about whether to attack Iraq or not," Mr Butler told CNN. "In the light of this kind of information surely that debate heats up further." Evidence was emerging that Iraq was one of the countries supporting terrorists, he said. "Should we go for them? I suspect we should." Yesterday an Iraqi man who wants to seek asylum in Australia produced documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was producing chemical and biological weapons. Also yesterday, other defectors in the US, said Iraq had renovated sites for storing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and dispatched a team of 30 saboteurs abroad bearing false passports. Vanity Fair magazine quoted defector Abu Zeinab al-Qurairy, believed to be a former close aide to Saddam Hussein's son Uday, as administering a 1,200-strong commando force. Al-Qurairy said he believed Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks carried out by teams that remained undercover for years in the west. Mr Butler said it was emerging that Iraq was a major player. "I think we've got abundant evidence that says that Iraq is a major player here and something we should deal with," he said. "I think Afghanistan is winding down. Should we move on? Yes. "Should the next target be Iraq? I'm not sure. That is certainly under active discussion in Washington. "Were they to decide that that should be the case, well they'd get no argument from me." Saddam's regime was horrendous and hostile, he said. "And now we have evidence today that he and his terrorist training facility has trained people of the kind that did the World Trade Centre," Mr Butler said. "Maybe the actual people. "I ask you, what more do we need?" http://observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,624218,00.html * SADDAM'S HENCHMEN 'ORDERED CROWDS TO GREET MP IN IRAQ' by David Rose The Observer, 23rd December One of Saddam Hussein's most senior henchmen, a self-confessed rapist, murderer and trainer of terrorists, was the main behind-the-scenes organiser of repeated trips to Baghdad by Labour MP George Galloway The Observer has learnt. Abu Zeinab al-Qurairy, a Brigadier-General in Iraq's brutal security service, the Mukhabarat, told The Observer that the visits by Mr Galloway - a passionate opponent of UN sanctions against the country - were seen by Saddam as a vital propaganda coup. He said that he and his colleagues were ordered to make sure the visits ran smoothly and he was personally responsible for rounding up vast, apparently enthusiastic crowds to cheer Galloway. 'We had to show his trips had been successful,' al-Qurairy said. 'We mobilised all types of associations, including women's unions, students and trade unions, to go on the streets and greet him.' Few of the hundreds of thousands made to turn out would have done so voluntarily, he said. 'The people are struggling to find the money for their dinner. The last thing on anyone's mind is to greet Galloway. His visits are like Saddam's birthday because everyone must come out.' Asked what would have happened to those who defied the Mukhabarat's invitation, al Qurairy said: 'Whoever it was would have to have a death-wish.' The disclosure that arrangements for Galloway's visits were orchestrated by the Mukhabarat will intensify the controversy around the MP, who has been an effective opponent of the Government's war against terrorism. In Baghdad in 1994, he told Saddam: 'Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability and I want you to know we are with you' - remarks which he later said had been meant to refer to the Iraqi people, not their murderous President. Subsequently he has dubbed Saddam a 'brutal dictator', insisting his concern is limited to the 'crime' of international sanctions. Nevertheless, al-Qurairy said that in Iraq, Galloway was seen as 'both a friend of Iraq and of the regime'. He said that, since the mid-Nineties, he had been asked to make security and other arrangements for Galloway's visits, and to have him treated in a style normally reserved for foreign heads of state. Galloway, MP for Glasgow Kelvin, said he could not recall meeting al-Qurairy and was unaware the Mukhabarat had helped to arrange his visits. He said his own contact was deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. Galloway's opposition to sanctions came to a head in 1998 when he founded the Mariam Appeal, initially to publicise the plight of leukaemia patient Mariam Hamza, then aged four. It became a broad anti-sanctions campaign, which has aroused widespread opposition to Western policy. The appeal is not a registered charity and publishes no accounts, although it continues to use Mariam's plight and her photograph to appeal for donations from the public. Galloway said it had raised money to help other Iraqis with medical problems. The Mariam Appeal has paid for numerous foreign trips Galloway has declared in the Commons Register of Interests, including five visits to Iraq, two to the United States and one each to Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary, Belgium and Romania. Galloway said all these trips were made to campaign against sanctions. The appeal's highpoint was a trip by Galloway and his supporters from Glasgow to Baghdad in a London bus in 1999. Its website describes a triumphal progress, with joyful crowds blocking the roads and singing 1960s peace anthems. This, al-Qurairy said, was entirely stage-managed by the Mukhabarat. Galloway said: 'Maybe the Brigadier-General organised it. Maybe he didn't. I looked into the eyes of the two million people who came out to greet the bus and I don't believe their affection was not genuine.' He also claimed that anything al-Qurairy said was suspect because he had defected: 'All defectors have a role to play: to damage Iraq.' http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?f=/stories/20011224/955625.html * NOT A 'SINGLE TEAR' FOR IRAQI LEADER National Post (Toronto), 24th December >From his listening post in Washington, National Post's Alexander Rose has compiled Dispatches, a weekly notebook providing context and commentary on international events. NO TEARS FOR SADDAM For the first time, cracks are appearing in the conventional wisdom that the "Arab world" will explode if Washington attacks Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime. An article by Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid in the Jedda Arab News, a pro-government Saudi Arabian newspaper, declared yesterday "there is nobody who would shed a single tear if Saddam were removed from power. The fear is that Saddam will not be removed and so the tragedy will continue on into the unforeseeable future." The problem with the regime "is that it can't change its attitude in support of terrorism," noted the author, concluding that "there is general agreement in the Arab world that if the removal of the Iraqi regime would end the crises in the region, it would be better done sooner rather than later." UNSPOKEN MIDEAST POLICY The big question is whether Mr. al-Rashid's opinion is a lone voice or if it reflects unspoken Middle Eastern "official" policy. After all, Saudi Arabia, which has relied on massive social spending and staying on the Islamists' good side to keep the royal House of Saud in power, may reinvigorate its credentials as leader of the Islamic world in the light of next year's projected $12-billion budget shortfall. Riyadh has declared it will not borrow from foreign lenders to finance the debt, but will issue bonds and undertake certain economic reforms. Social spending and lavish tribal patronage will, predictably, fall, perhaps leading to dangerous upheaval. To divert the attention of the masses, Riyadh may seek to distance itself from the West and make a point of opposing Washington's policies. MYSTERY PILOT Providing - perhaps - further evidence of the links between Iraq and terrorism, the Spanish newspaper Madrid ABC reports an Iraqi national named "Fael," aged in his 20s, took a pilot's course at Cordoba airport and then "vanished" 10 days before the Sept. 11 attacks. His strange requests alarmed his tutors, who alerted Madrid. Fael was particularly interested in knowing "by memory" the cockpit of the aircraft and he insistently asked to be given a special G-suit, used in combat aircraft or in very sudden manoeuvres. [.....] BLOOD TRACT That's Incredible! Part 2: Last week, Dispatches highlighted Saddam Hussein's authorship of a dreadful romance-novel, Zabibah and the King. Now, the New York Times reports, an Iraqi mosque possesses a Koran for which Saddam Hussein apparently donated 50 pints of blood -- his own, one assumes -- to produce the ink for the 600-page tome. http://www.hindustantimes.com/nonfram/251201/detfor05.asp * US PLANS IRAQ WAR¹ Hindustani Times, 25th December (New York, December 24 PTI/AFP): President George W Bush has thrown hints that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein might be the next target in the US war on terrorism, according to a media report. Bush and his national security team have decided that Saddam must go. "The question is not if the United States is going to hit Iraq, the question is when," the report quoted a senior American envoy in West Asia as saying. Faced with such "resolve", the report said, "crucial allies of the US in the region Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- all of which border Iraq are quietly saying they're ready to cooperate". "If there is a war against terror, then Iraq is part of the terror," the report in Newsweek quoted Kuwaiti information minister Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah as saying. An advisor to Saudi crown prince Abdullah said discussions about targeting Saddam had already begun. Listing some "potent signals under the present circumstances", the report says Pentagon is building up its administrative resources in the region and preparing for the contingencies of war. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la 000102096dec26.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Dcomment%2Dopinions * THE IRAQI MILITARY'S ACHILLES' HEEL IS SADDAM HUSSEIN by James Zumwalt Los Angeles Times, 26th December [James Zumwalt is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who served in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars.] Long before the fall of the last Taliban and Al Qaeda stronghold at Tora Bora, White House officials were considering where next to strike a blow against terrorism. Iraq is among the targets being considered. However, numerous factors must first be weighed, including the fighting capability of the Iraqi army. While some see Saddam Hussein's army as formidable, others feel such is not the case. As one who had the opportunity to interrogate senior Iraqi officers during the Persian Gulf War, I would like to share some insights. With the rapid collapse of the Iraqi army after U.S. ground forces entered Kuwait and Iraq, I led a team to interrogate 10 Iraqi battalion and regimental commanders. What these commanders voluntarily shared about their army's capabilities--or, more precisely, its lack thereof--was astonishing. While on paper the Iraqi army looked formidable--a long-toothed tiger poised to attack or defend--in reality, the tiger was made of paper. Ironically, the army's greatest strength--a dictator determined to build a massive war machine--was also its greatest weakness. As it turned out, it was not only Iraq's neighbors who feared Hussein's army, but Hussein himself. As a result, the Iraqi army that U.S. forces encountered in February 1991 lacked leadership, training and motivation. With one of the world's largest armies under arms in 1990, Hussein took great pride in using his military muscle against relatively defenseless Kuwait. Yet, driven by fear that a powerful army posed just as great a threat to him personally, he also took steps to emasculate his own army's fighting capabilities before employing it against his much smaller neighbor. One of the most important elements in fielding a capable fighting force in wartime is ensuring it is well trained in peacetime. U.S. forces constantly undergo peacetime combined arms training, during which all elements of its fighting capabilities--ground, air, artillery--are well coordinated. The Iraqi army, however, was never permitted to undertake such training by Hussein because he feared the more time his military leaders spent together, the more opportunity they had to plot against him. As a result, Iraqi commanders had little understanding of how best to employ their ground forces, tanks, artillery and--had their pilots not run for cover--air power. Iraqi commanders also failed to take any initiative. Hussein had a practice of removing, either temporarily or more permanently by execution, those exhibiting too much initiative. As a result, commanders felt safer maintaining a low profile, fearing even to report faulty equipment or desertions. In one case, a commander who reported a high desertion rate during the U.S. air war was shot. The desertion rate immediately dropped--at least from a reporting standpoint. In reality, the rates drastically increased, reaching as high as 80% for some units. Without their commanders taking initiative, Iraqi soldiers who did not desert were on their own. The battlefield tactics they developed were keyed to what the combat situation dictated. For example, they noticed that U.S. planes would only concentrate fire on Iraqi vehicles, so they learned to quickly abandon a vehicle as soon as it came under air attack. Combat intelligence was nonexistent for the Iraqi army during the war, again because Hussein feared that too much information in the hands of his subordinates posed a danger to him. Iraqi commanders were kept continually in the dark, not only about their own force dispositions but also about the disposition of U.S. or allied units they were facing. A difficult element to assess in the current debate about the Iraqi army's fighting capability is the commitment of its warriors to their cause. In the Persian Gulf War, such a commitment was lacking as most Iraqis felt it was wrong to invade Kuwait. If the U.S. were now to attack Iraq, however, they might feel more of a sense of commitment in defending their own country. In the final analysis, the Iraqi army, despite its impressive numbers and armament, possesses the same Achilles' heel today that it had over a decade ago--Saddam Hussein. As long as Hussein fears his army may turn against him, he is content to emasculate it. Should the decision be made to target Iraq next, we will, as we did a decade earlier, solidly defeat its army. This time, however, we must ensure the tyrant does not survive. http://www.newsobserver.com/thursday/news/nc/Story/847886p-832991c.html * OLD PLAN FOR IRAQ IS TOPICAL AGAIN by Michael Dobbs, News and Observer (from The Washington Post), 26th December [.....] Military analysts point out that the Iraqi army is nearly 20 times the size of the Taliban army, with 10 times as many tanks. The Iraqi opposition has less experience fighting the regime than Afghanistan's Northern Alliance. Most worrying of all, unlike the Taliban, Saddam may well have chemical and biological weapons, or even a crude nuclear device. White House deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley said in an interview that the administration had done some "planning and thinking" about Iraq in the spring and early summer, but the activity hit "a pause," partly because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said the president and his closest national security advisers were preoccupied with the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Earlier attempts to overthrow Saddam flopped. According to Iraqi National Congress President Ahmed Chalabi, there have been half a dozen U.S.-supported coup attempts or insurrections in Iraq since the gulf war, all of them quelled by Saddam's internal security forces. Popular uprisings against Saddam have fared little better. A 1995 Kurdish insurrection in the north, half-heartedly backed by the CIA and instigated by the Iraqi National Congress, was crushed by Saddam in 1996. He played one Kurdish faction off against another, executing more than 100 Chalabi supporters. Chalabi blamed the defeat on inadequate support from the United States. A former banker educated at the University of Chicago, he lobbied Congress to pass what eventually became known as the Iraq Liberation Act, a 1998 law that allocated $97 million to the training of anti-Saddam guerrilla groups. Lending military respectability to Chalabi's ideas was Downing, a retired four-star general who played a key role in overthrowing Panama's Manuel Noriega in 1989 and ran insurgency operations in Iraq in 1991 as the head of the Joint Special Operations Command. In the words of an official of the Iraqi National Congress, Downing agreed to put Chalabi's ideas into "Pentagonese." Downing was assisted by a former CIA agent, Duane "Dewey" Clarridge, who ran the U.S. backed Contras who fought the leftist Sandanista regime in Nicaragua during the Reagan administration. Together, the two men drew up a plan to train about 200 Iraqi National Congress fighters, who would train another 5,000 men to be inserted into southern Iraq from Kuwait, where they would seize a deserted air base near the city of Basra. Even though it became the basis for the Iraq Liberation Act, the Downing plan was savaged by much of the U.S. military establishment, including officers of the U.S. Central Command, which would bear responsibility for military operations against Iraq. http://www.nationalpost.com/home/story.html?f=/stories/20011228/978029.html * THE LIBERAL CASE FOR ATTACKING IRAQ by Rich Lowry (from the National Review) National Post (Toronto), 28th December The push to liberate Iraq is being portrayed as an inherently right-wing idea. It shouldn't be. Owlish college professors and liberal columnists should be banging the drums of war loudly, because if there were ever a call for left-wing hawks, this would be it. Just consider some of the liberal reasons for toppling Saddam Hussein: DO IT FOR THE UN If the United Nations is ever going to represent the force for peace and global order the left wants it to be, at the very least its resolutions should be abided by. Resolution 1284, passed in 1999, calls for Iraq to allow inspections by the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. Saddam Hussein rejects it. Resolution 687, from back in 1991, calls on Iraq to destroy its weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein flouts it. DO IT FOR THE WOMEN Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, complains: "What have they done to help Afghan women? Would they have done this without Sept. 11? It was a side effect. They didn't go in there to liberate women." Well, when is the last time anyone saw a woman voting in a free and fair election in Iraq? When is the last time anyone saw a woman holding a position of major responsibility in the Iraqi government? Or in business for that matter? Indeed, one theory has it that Saddam ignored a warning from April Glaspie, then U.S. ambassador to Iraq, not to invade Kuwait because she was a woman. What are feminists waiting for? Saddam, the repressor of women, must go. DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN According to UNICEF, roughly 500,000 children under age five died in Iraq between 1991 and 1998. By any standard, this is a tragedy. You can argue about whether sanctions or Saddam are primarily to blame, but there is no doubt that sanctions are an extremely blunt instrument and affect not just a targeted government, but its civilian population. This is why polite opinion celebrates Colin Powell for wanting to partially lift sanctions on Iraq. But his position should really be an unacceptable straddle for the left. The truly humanitarian position is to do away with sanctions entirely, which will only happen if Saddam Hussein is overthrown. DO IT FOR ARMS CONTROL The International Atomic Energy Agency is supposed to be devoted not only to sharing nuclear power with Third World nations, but also to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein instead used its good offices to jump-start his nuclear-weapons program. The Biological Weapons Convention is supposed to stop the scourge of biological weapons from proliferating around the world. The Bush administration recently outraged international opinion by rejecting a new protocol for it, partly because countries like Iraq are so obviously flouting it. How can we achieve a world community delineated by well-meaning, multilateral agreements, if leaders such as Saddam Hussein are allowed to resolutely mock them? DO IT FOR MUSLIMS Between the Iran-Iraq war, the invasion of Kuwait and the repression of various uprisings in Iraq, Saddam Hussein has killed more Muslims than any leader in the Middle East -- including Ariel Sharon. Saddam Hussein should be ousted so Muslims can practise their "religion of peace," in peace. DO IT FOR NATION-BUILDING The U.S. military was deployed by Bill Clinton to undertake operations that included a major humanitarian aspect -- Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo. Iraq has experienced a catastrophic economic and social collapse since the Gulf War, and so is as good a target for nation-building as any. What do Port-au-Prince or Pristina have on Baghdad? Only two things are keeping the left from following the logic of these arguments. The first is the idea that Arab popular opinion won't tolerate a war against Saddam Hussein -- exactly what we heard about the war in Afghanistan. This notion is so discredited that even Arabs aren't pretending to believe in it any longer. The second is more fundamental: a distrust of U.S. power so deeply ingrained that many on the left may not even know it exists. This is why the case against a war against Saddam Hussein tends to be made in such a flabby way: Many doves probably don't even really know why they oppose such a war. They should jettison their fear of U.S. power and instead have the courage of the rest of their convictions -- and put the liberal back in liberate. FINGER POINTING AWAY FROM IRAQ http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nyt/20011222/ts/u_s_inquiry_tried_but_failed_to _link_iraq_to_anthrax_attack_1.html * U.S. INQUIRY TRIED, BUT FAILED, TO LINK IRAQ TO ANTHRAX ATTACK by William J. Broad with David Johnston Yahoo (from The New York Times), 22nd December Shortly after the first anthrax victim died in October, the Bush administration began an intense effort to explore any possible link between Iraq and the attacks and continued to do so even after scientists determined that the lethal germ was an American strain, scientists and government officials said. But they said that largely secret work had found no evidence to back up the initial suspicions, which is one reason administration officials have said recently that the source of the anthrax was most likely domestic. For months, intelligence agencies searched for Iraqi fingerprints and scientists investigated whether Baghdad had somehow obtained the so-called Ames strain of anthrax. Scientists also repeatedly analyzed the powder from the anthrax-laced envelopes for signs of chemical additives that would point to Iraq. "We looked for any shred of evidence that would bear on this, or any foreign source," a senior intelligence official said of an Iraq connection. "It's just not there." The focus on Iraq was based on its record of developing a germ arsenal and also on what some officials said was a desire on the part of the administration to find a reason to attack Iraq in the war on terrorism. "I know there are a number of people who would love an excuse to get after Iraq," said a top federal scientist involved in the investigation. >From the start, agents searched for clues in domestic industry, academia and terror groups. But while investigators were racing to link the Ames strain to Iraq, they have only recently begun examining government institutions and contractors in this country that have worked with that strain for years. In hunting for a culprit in the attacks that killed five people, agents have chased tens of thousands of tips in the past two months and conducted thousands of interviews, law enforcement officials said. They have traced prescriptions for the antibiotic Cipro, on the chance the perpetrator took the drug to guard against the disease. They have also checked the language and block- style handwriting on letters sent with the anthrax against digital databases of threatening letters maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service and Capitol Police. But officials said no likely suspects have emerged and they are settling in for what they fear could be a long haul. The most promising evidence is still the anthrax itself, which federal scientists and contractors are studying for clues to its origin. The government tried to find links to Afghanistan and Iraq in the substance as well. One discovery early in the inquiry seemed to undercut the foreign thesis. The anthrax used in the first attack, in Florida, and in subsequent attacks turned out to be the Ames strain, named after its place of origin in Iowa. While investigators found that this domestic variety of anthrax had been shipped to some laboratories overseas, none could be traced to Baghdad. Nevertheless, government officials continued pushing the Iraq theory, scientists and officials involved in the inquiry said. They saw an intriguing clue in reports that Iraq had tried hard to obtain the Ames strain from British researchers in 1988 and 1989, raising suspicions that it had eventually succeeded. Federal scientists hunted down records and biological samples from an investigation of Iraq's biological arms program, which was conducted by the United Nations in the 1990's. Those samples were analyzed in laboratories run by two biologists, Paul S. Keim of Northern Arizona University and Paul J. Jackson of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, in New Mexico. But in the end few samples from Iraq's arsenal were found, and those that were turned out to have nothing in common with the Ames strain, officials said. A different line of inquiry sought to re-examine seven anthrax strains that the world's largest germ bank, the American Type Culture Collection, in Manassas, Va., sold to Iraq in the 1980's, before the government banned such exports. None of the strains were identified as Ames. But scientists inside and outside the government speculated that mislabeling might have inadvertently put the potent germ in Baghdad's hands. More laboratory tests were ordered. Raymond H. Cypess, president of the germ bank, said recent investigations had disproved the mislabeling idea. "We never had it," he said of the Ames strain, "and we can say that on several levels of analysis." The Iraq inquiry also looked for chemical clues. An early focus was bentonite, a clay additive that is one of the few substances identified publicly that can help reduce the static charge of anthrax spores so they float more freely and potentially infect more people. Richard O. Spertzel, a retired microbiologist who led the United Nations' biological weapons inspections of Iraq, told investigators that Iraq had explored using bentonite in its germ weapons programs. But Maj. Gen. John Parker of the Army's biological research center at Fort Detrick, Md., said in late October that tests had turned up no signs of aluminum a main building block of bentonite. "If I can't find aluminum," General Parker told reporters, "I can't say it's bentonite." Despite the scientific findings, the sophistication of the anthrax found in the letter mailed to Senator Tom Daschle, the majority leader, has kept Dr. Spertzel and others convinced that Iraq or another foreign power could be behind the attacks. Richard H. Ebright, a microbiologist at Rutgers University who closely follows the anthrax inquiry, recently said that the Baghdad thesis "should not be dismissed as a desperate reach for a casus belli against Iraq" and is still worth investigating. Publicly, White House officials have made no mention of the failure to find an Iraqi connection, but they have noted the inquiry's intensified focus on the United States. "The evidence is increasingly looking like it was a domestic source," the White House Press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said on Monday. Tom Ridge, the director of homeland security, said in a statement that he initially assumed that the culprits were foreigners. "Like many people, when the case of anthrax emerged so close to Sept. 11, I couldn't believe it was a coincidence," Mr. Ridge said. "But now, based on the investigative work of many agencies, we're all more inclined to think that the perpetrator is domestic." It remains unclear whether the focus on Iraq diverted investigators from the domestic inquiry. But some scientists say a decision made early on suggests that it might have. In early October, the F.B.I. raised no objections when officials at Iowa State University, where the Ames strain was discovered, said they planned to destroy the university's large collection of anthrax spores for security reasons. Many biologists now say that step might have destroyed potential genetic clues to the culprit's identity. Two months later, the investigation is largely focused in the United States. As the scientific inquiry into the anthrax itself continues, the F.B.I. is also employing more traditional forensic and investigative techniques to find out who sent the lethal letters. Agents have compiled lengthy lists of who might have manufactured, tested, transported or stored anthrax. They have questioned manufacturers and marketers of biochemistry equipment and specialized machinery needed to make the material. They have inspected scientific literature, which could provide clues about who has knowledge to make anthrax. But few clues have emerged. So far only three letters those sent to NBC, The New York Post and Mr. Daschle have been analyzed. A fourth letter, sent to Senator Patrick J.Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, is undergoing painstaking analysis by a number of laboratories, officials said. All of the letters were photocopies and none appeared to contain any fingerprints. The plastic tape on the envelopes was a mass marketed variety. The paper on which the letters were written was an average size. The envelopes were prestamped and widely available. The marks left by the photocopier have been carefully studied, but have revealed no clues. One senior official said nothing the investigators have found has led to anyone who might remotely be called a suspect. Several people who seemed to fit the F.B.I.'s profile of a science loner had been aggressively investigated, but no one has emerged as a serious subject. "Still, the more you are out there, the more things bubble up," the official said. But asked whether recent news reports of a possible suspect in the case were true, the official replied, "I only wish that was true." Some tips have seemed encouraging, but only for a time. "We run out every lead and we give these people a real hard look and real hard shake before we take them off the screen," the official said. "There have been people who we have placed a little higher priority on than others." But then they fall off. Some senior Bush administration officials have begun to worry privately that the case might take decades to solve, likening it to the Unabomber investigation that baffled investigators for nearly 20 years until David Kaczynski became suspicious of his brother Theodore and alerted the F.B.I. Investigators have used various strategies to find suspects, but have often been frustrated. When they tried to track down people who had sought prescriptions for Cipro in the weeks before the anthrax mailings, the effort quickly bogged down. "Do you know how many people take Cipro in this country?" an exasperated official said, explaining that Cipro is used to treat a variety of ailments. Investigators also said they were continuing to examine the possibility that the culprit might have purchased stock in the company that makes Cipro in an effort to profit from the attacks. The newest front in the search for culprits is the examination of government research institutions and contractors. The reason to look there is plain: Some of them have the Ames strain and know how to turn it into the kind of deadly powder used in the attacks. But that has added yet another complication to the already challenging inquiry. After all, investigators have relied on these same experts for scientific advice from the earliest days of the investigation, back when Iraq was a prime suspect. "It puts us in a difficult position," one senior law enforcement official said. "We're working with these people and looking at them as potential suspects." http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/printedition/chi 0112240177dec24.story?coll=chi%2Dprintnews%2Dhed * DOUBTS ARISE ON IRAQI LINK TO ATTACKS by Sam Roe Chicago Tribune, 24th December [.....] Authorities here have not explained how they know Atta met with al-Ani. Havel has said there was no recording of the meeting but that a Czech intelligence agent had been monitoring the Iraqi's movements. Similarly, Czech media report that there is no hard evidence of the meeting--no pictures, tape recordings or other documentation. The only evidence, they report, comes from a paid informant of the Czech intelligence agency who apparently had been following the Iraqi officer. The Mlada Fronta Dnes newspaper said Czech police and some counterintelligence officers now believe the informant confused Atta with an Iraqi businessman from Germany who frequently visited the Iraqi intelligence officer. While accounts vary, some Czech authorities indicate that Atta visited the country three times. The first was in May 2000, when he flew to Prague from Hamburg, Germany, where he lived for eight years. But he did not have a visa and was not allowed to leave the transit area. He returned to Prague with the proper documentation a few days later, in June 2000, and stayed one night at an unknown location before flying to Newark, N.J. The third visit reportedly was in April, when Atta allegedly met with the Iraqi. Czech authorities believe Atta used a false passport to enter the country for the meeting, according to media reports. If the meeting took place, it marks the first known contact between one of the Sept. 11 hijackers and a hostile foreign government. Atta is believed to have piloted one of the jets that slammed into the World Trade Center. [.....] http://www.detnews.com/2001/nation/0112/26/a01-375647.htm * IRAQ FADES AS LIKELY NEXT TARGET by Timothy M. Phelps Newsday, 26th December [.....] The annual State Department report on state-sponsored terrorism issued in April said that Iraq, while engaged in terrorism against its own dissidents, has not attempted anti-Western terrorist attacks in recent years. Several terrorist organizations have offices in its capital, Baghdad, the report says, but they are not very active. There are few known ties between the secular Iraqi regime and Islamic fundamentalists. [.....] IRAQI/MIDDLE EASTERN-ARAB WORLD RELATIONS http://quotes.freerealtime.com/dl/frt/N?art=C2001122400358t7046&SA=Latest%20 News * RUSSIA TO MAKE EFFORTS NOT TO ALLOW BOMBINGS OF IRAQ - SPEAKER by Ivan Novikov MOSCOW, Dec 24, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX) -- Speaker of the State Duma lower house of parliament Gennady Seleznyov said Russia will make all efforts in order not to allow bombings of Iraq. He was speaking after a meeting with Qatari Emir sheikh Hamad bin Hhalifa Al Thani on Monday. Seleznyov said the Duma had already appealed to the world community not to allow such development of events. He stressed that Russia not only seeks the lifting of international sanctions against Iraq in the humanitarian sphere, but the lifting of all the sanctions. Commenting on the development of relations between Russia and Qatar, Seleznyov noted that both countries are ready to strengthen them and develop in all areas. "I am sure so it will be," he emphasized adding that "the delegation of such level, which we are receiving today will certainly pave way for close relations between Russia and Qatar." In the course of the talks, the speaker said, they had exchanged views on international terrorism and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The sides emphasized the important role in the solution of these problems played by the Organization of the Islamic Conference which Qatar heads at present, according to Seleznyov. In his opinion, the visit by a Russian parliamentary delegation to Qatar in late January 2002 will contribute to the strengthening of relations between the two states. The Qatari Emir said in the course of the talks, the sides had consulted over political and economic issues. He held out hope that contacts between Qatar and Russia will become more effective. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Qatari Emir will meet to discuss the main directions of cooperation between the two countries in the political, trade and economic and humanitarian spheres, sources told Itar-Tass. They will also discuss current international problems, such as the situations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the anti- terrorist operation and the Iraqi issue. The meeting will be followed by talks in expanded format, at which the parties will consider projects for interaction in various spheres. Among the most promising fields of cooperation are the oil and gas industry (given the fact that Qatar ranks third in the world in terms of gas reserves), health care and education. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, upon his arrival in the Russian capital, told Itar-Tass that Qatar hopes for the development of relations with Russia in all areas and that it will do its best to facilitate this process. Experts stressed that Russia and Qatar are interested in attracting to cooperation both state agencies and business circles. It is planned to consider the launching of interaction between the chambers of commerce and industry of the two countries. Qatari Foreign Minister sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who accompanies the emir on his official visit, will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov. Russia values "the active, independent and balanced politics of this Arab country which heads the Organization of the Islamic Conference," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told Itar-Tass. After the talks in the Kremlin, the Qatari Emir will leave for Ankara. http://www.irna.com/newshtm/eng/04163953.htm * DAILY CAUTIONS SAUDI GOV'T OF PRO-IRAQI POLICY Tehran, Dec 25, IRNA -- `Iran News' on Tuesday cautioned the Saudi government to be wary of, what it called, their `latest overtures' to Baghdad, advising them not to rush into adopting a pro-Iraqi foreign policy as they will not benefit anything from it. The English-language daily went on to praise current ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, commending Majlis Speaker, Mehdi Karroubi's ongoing trip to Riyadh as a `landmark' occasion and a sign of `close' and `cordial' relations. It warned that the West has been disapproving such close ties, between the two great nations before and after the Islamic Revolution, noting that it is particularly unhappy over the current Tehran-Riyadh rapprochement, which began just five years ago and which brought peace and tranquility to the whole region. Bearing this close relationship in mind, the paper however reminded Saudi Arabia not to forget that it was `scarred' by the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. It criticized US media for exploiting, what it called, `isolated incidents' which involved Arabs and tarnished the good image of Saudi Arabia, lashing out at the Western media for failing to acknowledge that the Saudis feel deceived in the Afghan conflict. It went on to praise Saudi Arabia's `active and positive role in the Jihad to repulse the invading Soviet forces'. As for the entire Taliban affair, the paper believed Saudi suspicion that the whole episode was devised by MI6 and CIA and they were duped into contributing cash and material resources. It further reminded Saudi Arabia that they had spent `billions of dollars to hoist the Taliban to power, although the latter have been toppled and are detested in Afghanistan'. Furthermore, they must not forget that strategy of both London and Washington in Afghanistan has had disastrous results for Saudi Arabia, the daily believed. However, it is noteworthy that Saudi has realized its interests are `incompatible' with the aims of US and Britain, praised the daily. But Saudi government's latest overtures to Baghdad must be properly weighed, calling their decisions `premature and hasty'. The paper therefore advised Riyadh not to rush into adopting a pro-Iraq policy, pointing out that all regional problems in the Persian Gulf littoral states should be resolved through the 6+2 Group. Yet, it warned, the group will not prove to be effective if Saddam Hussein is allowed to influence events. Now that the Saudis have realized that their rush into the Afghan affair earned the `wrath and hate' of the Afghan people, it would do well if Riyadh avoids repetition of its past mistakes to avoid any fatal consequences of an alignment with Saddam Hussein, which will provoke the hatred of the Iraqi people, it concluded. http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/011225/2001122507.html * PROGRESS IN THE IRAQI-IRANIAN TALKS Arabic News, 25th December Talks started on December 21 at the Iraqi foreign ministry headquarters were resumed on December 23 between the Iraqi and Iranian delegations concerning the Iraqi and Iranian displaced and refugees in implementation of the idea of the joint minutes of meetings signed in Tehran on October 23rd. It was agreed that each of the two countries will distribute voluntary " return back lists" in coordination with the offices of the UNHCR in Baghdad and Tehran. Meantime, an official at the Iraqi foreign ministry said the current meetings aim at providing all means to provide this operation a success, facilitate the return back of all displaced and refugees who desire to doing so, especially as relations between the two countries had witnessed joint activities for senior technicians concerned with the humanitarian aspect. News reports close to the talks said the two sides showed their satisfaction over so far achieved results, especially as the Iraqi government issued its instruction to return all suspended properties to these who are coming from Iran and this is in implementation of the general pardoning from all legal consequences for the Iraqis who had earlier left Iraq illegally. However, the Iranian delegation arrived last Thursday in Baghdad in a visit which lasts for several days. The delegation is chaired by the official in charge of refugees affairs at the Iranian ministry of the interior. The Iranian side includes officials from both the interior and foreign ministries; while the Iraqi side to the talks is presided over by Abdul Sattar al-Qadi, the official in charge of refugees at the Iraqi ministry of the interior. http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=477026 * TURKEY RENEWS MANDATE FOR NORTH IRAQ PATROLS Reuters, 25th December ANKARA: Turkey's parliament on Tuesday extended for six months the mandate allowing U.S. and British warplanes to patrol the no-fly zone in northern Iraq as fears mounted that Washington could next target Iraq in its war on terrorism. NATO member Turkey, anxious that strikes across the border could stir its own restive Kurdish population, has joined other U.S. allies to say it opposes action against Iraq in retaliation for its refusal to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return there. U.S. and British flights from Turkey's southern Incirlik airbase protect northern Iraqi Kurds in a breakaway enclave and are a crucial part of U.S. policy against President Saddam Hussein. Islamist deputies from Turkey's opposition parties told parliament that the mandate, which has been extended every six months since northern Iraq fell from Baghdad's control after the 1991 Gulf War, had harmed Turkish interests, costing it billions of dollars in lost trade with Iraq. "When this operation began it had a humanitarian mission, but now supplies a different perspective," said Ali Goren, an Islamist member of parliament, saying the operation could lead to a new Kurdish state in northern Iraq. Baghdad does not recognize the no-fly zone and has targeted patrolling planes with its anti aircraft system. Turkey's cooperation with its western allies against Iraq has helped it to conduct an illicit oil trade with Iraqi Kurds and to carry out cross-border military operations in the enclave in pursuit of its own rebel Kurds. http://www.reuters.co.uk/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=477115 * IRAQ MINISTER TO VISIT TEHRAN NEXT MONTH Reuters, 26th December BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabriis to visit Iran early next year to discuss issues blocking the normalisation of relations between the two Muslim neighbours since their ruinous war in the 1980s. Sabri said on Tuesday he had discussed the visit -- the first such exchange in several years -- with Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi at the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Doha on December 10. "I will visit Iran next month, God willing, to hold detailed talks on pending issues," Iraq's satellite channel quoted Sabri as saying. "There are files still pending since the 1980s between the two countries and we are endeavouring to close them and currently there is an Iranian delegation in Baghdad to solve the problem of displaced people," he said. Ties have improved between the two countries which fought a an eight-year-long war in the 1980s. Baghdad has reopened its borders for Iranian pilgrims to visit Shi'ite shrines in Iraq. But the thousands of combatants listed as missing in action and prisoners of war are among key issues blocking the normalisation of ties between the two Muslim countries. Iran regularly condemns Iraq for harbouring its main opposition People's Mujahideen Organisation, while Baghdad accuses Tehran of backing Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim dissidents. An Iranian delegation started talks in Baghdad on Friday on the issue of displaced people of both sides. "We are optimistic and the Iranian officials are optimistic too that we are making strides forward," Sabri said. "There is a big and a certain chance and we, together with our brothers the Iranian officials, endeavour to seize this chance and work to cement our steps towards establishing good neighbourly relations between the two countries," he said. Iraq said in November that it had agreed with Iran that the best solution to the problem of refugees was to let them decide whether or not they wished to return home after their countries confirmed their nationality. There is no official figure on the number of Iraqi nationals who took refuge in Iran during the 1991 U.S-led Gulf War to end Iraq's seven-month occupation of Kuwait or on the Iranian minorities who fled to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. Up to one million Iraqis and Iranians were killed in the war, which ended when Iran accepted a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire on August 8, 1988. http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_482041.html * IRAN AND IRAQ WANT BIG CUTS IN OIL PRODUCTION Ananova, 26th December The Iranian and Iraqi oil ministers both expect Opec to announce massive cuts in oil production tomorrow. Iran's oil minister wants global oil production to be cut by between 1.8 and two million barrels a day. Bijan Namdar Zangeneh made the comments on the eve of a meeting of Opec ministers to decide reductions by the cartel's 11 members. Most analysts expect members to approve a cut in production of 1.5 million barrels a day. But Iraqi oil minister Amer Mohammad Rashid predicts that Opec output will be cut by two million barrels per day. Mr Rashid told Al-Zawra weekly there was no doubt this would lead to a rise in prices to the level seen before the US terror attacks on September 11. The Iraqi minister, who left today for the Cairo talks, says the petroleum exporters' cartel will study "practical ways to support prices". Iraq, which has been under United Nations sanctions since invading Kuwait in 1990, is not included in Opec's quota system. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.